The Entomological Society of America (ESA) expects authors, reviewers, editors and others involved in its publications enterprise to safeguard the integrity of its publications process and to alert appropriate officials to possible misconduct. The ESA believes it has a responsibility to ensure that allegations of misconduct are properly investigated. The Society takes all such allegations seriously and will use the expectations, definitions, and procedures outlined below to examine their validity and to take appropriate action.
1. Expectations of Authors Involved in the ESA Publications Enterprise
The ESA expects authors submitting to and publishing in its journals, proceedings, and books (“publications”) to adhere to ethical standards of scholarship and to ensure that the work they submit for publication is free of scientific and publication misconduct. The list of authors of the work should accurately reflect who carried out the research, who wrote the article, and others who made substantive contributions to the work. All authors of articles submitted for publication assume individual and shared responsibility, within the limits of their professional competence, for the accuracy and integrity of their work.
2. Author Misconduct and Initial Considerations for its Investigation
2.1 Kinds and Definitions of Author Misconduct
- Plagiarism – taking material from another's work and submitting it as one’s own without properly acknowledging or attributing its source.
- Self-plagiarism – republishing one's own work that has previously been published elsewhere in the primary literature without citing the earlier publication.
- Duplicate publication – publishing the same, or substantially the same, article in more than one journal or other publishing venue. ESA policy does permit the submission of an article based on a previously published abstract, proceeding, presentation, or poster.
- Conflict of interest – failing to make known to the editor financial, institutional or other conflicts of interest that might be perceived by a reasonable person to influence one’s work.
- Dishonest communications – knowingly providing ESA with dishonest information during any part of the publications process.
- Fraud – fabricating a research report or suppressing or altering data.
- Improper assignment of credit or authorship – omitting those who should be included as authors or including as authors those who should not be.
2.2 Initial Considerations
The ESA recognizes that allegations of author misconduct may prove to be unfounded, and that such allegations may be damaging to an individual. Therefore, the following general considerations will be observed:
To be actionable, allegations of author misconduct must be received in writing by the Editor-in-Chief of the affected publication. Such writing should include a description of the alleged behavior and information in support of the allegation.
Necessary investigations of allegations will begin promptly and proceed as expeditiously as possible.
Strict standards of confidentiality, fairness, and impartiality will be maintained throughout the processes of allegation investigation and resolution. All aspects of an investigation must be treated confidentially throughout the investigation process.
Processing of a manuscript involved in case of alleged author misconduct will be suspended until the relevant case has been resolved. The Editor-in-Chief of the affected ESA publication will communicate as necessary with the Corresponding Author of a suspended manuscript to keep the author informed of the status of his or her submission.
If a case of author misconduct has been determined to have occurred, any actions taken by ESA will apply only to the author(s) who was involved in the misconduct.
3. Process for Addressing Allegations of Author Misconduct
3.1 Level of the Editor-in-Chief
All allegations of author misconduct will be referred initially to the Editor-in-Chief of the affected ESA publication. When a written allegation of misconduct is received, the Editor-in-Chief will make a preliminary inquiry to determine whether misconduct may have occurred. The Editor-in-Chief will treat the allegation confidentially, but may communicate with the person(s) making the allegation, the author(s) of the Work with respect to which misconduct is alleged, the Ethics subcommittee of the Publications Council, the ESA Publications Director, and others as deemed necessary to make a preliminary assessment of the allegation. If, after these preliminary communications and consultations, the Editor-in-Chief determines that author misconduct has not occurred, the Editor-in-Chief will dismiss the allegation and no further investigation will be made.
3.2 Level of the Ethics Subcommittee
If the Editor-in-Chief determines that a further investigation is warranted, the Editor-in-Chief will initiate a more formal investigation. This investigation will be conducted by the Ethics subcommittee of the ESA Publications Council, along with the Editor-in-Chief of the affected publication. Alternate subcommittee members may be appointed on a case-by-case basis if one of the regular members is unable to participate or has a conflict of interest.
The subcommittee will make appropriate notifications of this investigation, which will typically include the person(s) making the allegation, the author(s) alleged to have committed the misconduct, and the ESA Publications Director, but, subject to limitations stated in Section 3.3, may also include other parties, such as ESA legal counsel, and the author(s) institution or employer. Such notice to the author(s) will be made only to the author(s) alleged to have engaged in misconduct and the Corresponding Author who shall be responsible for all communications with other authors. After the investigation is complete, the subcommittee will send a statement outlining the alleged misconduct to the author(s) alleged to have committed the misconduct, and the author(s) will be given a maximum of 30 days to respond in writing to the allegation. The author(s) response, if any, will be included as part of the subcommittee's report.
The subcommittee will then make a determination whether, in its judgment, misconduct has occurred. If the subcommittee determines that no misconduct has occurred, 1) the report and documentation, together with a record of the subcommittee's determination, will be sealed and delivered to the ESA Publications Director for archiving at ESA headquarters; 2) the Editor-in-Chief will communicate the results of the determination to the Author(s) involved and to the person(s) making the allegation; and, 3) any suspended manuscripts will be released to continue through the publications process.
If the subcommittee determines that author misconduct has occurred, the subcommittee will determine a course of action that it deems appropriate given the circumstances of the case. (See Section 3.4 below for some possible actions.)
The ESA Executive Director and legal counsel will review the subcommittee's decision and notify the subcommittee of any legal concerns that could affect the subcommittee's decision. Once so notified, the subcommittee will carry out the course of action, including the appropriate notification of all parties involved, including the Governing Board. The subcommittee's report, documentation, and determination will be delivered to the ESA Publications Director for archiving at ESA headquarters.
3.3 Parties Responsible for Investigating Allegations of Author Misconduct
In cases alleging Author Misconduct under Paragraph 2.1 above, members of the Ethics subcommittee will conduct and document an investigation with the purpose of attempting to ascertain the facts of the case. For this investigation, the subcommittee members may contact any individual or organization deemed to be relevant to the facts of the case, including the author’s home institution or employer, and may request that those individuals or organizations carry out further inquiries into the facts of the case. Prior to making any contacts with any person other than the authors and the complaining party, the subcommittee shall consult with legal counsel through coordination with the ESA Executive Director.
3.4 Some Courses of Action for Resolving Cases of Author Misconduct
The following actions may be taken upon a finding of author misconduct:
- Withdraw the manuscript pending correction to eliminate the misconduct.
- Reject the manuscript and deny its publication by ESA.
- Notify the author(s) home institution(s) of the misconduct.
- If a paper has already been published, officially retract the paper and flag any electronic version as a retracted paper.
- Prohibit the author(s) from publishing in ESA publications for a specified period of time.
- Such other action as may be determined necessary and appropriate under the circumstances of the misconduct, provided that any report or disclosure of a finding of misconduct or imposition of discipline shall not be undertaken without prior consultation with legal counsel.
Actions appropriate in particular circumstances may vary depending on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to: the severity of the misconduct, identified prior misconduct, and the stage of the publication process at which the misconduct is discovered.
4. Additional Considerations
4.1 Reviews and Appeals
All parties directly involved in a case of author misconduct shall have the right to review and respond to the report and documentation provided by the subcommittee.
Author(s) shall have the right to appeal a determination of author misconduct to the full Publications Council. All appeals must be submitted in writing to the Council within 30 days of notification of the decision by the Ethics subcommittee. The appeal must include a rebuttal of the decision, explaining in detail the author(s) rationale for why the decision was in error. The Council will review the evidence and the rebuttal, and issue its decision as promptly as reasonably possible after receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Council is final. Members of the Ethics subcommittee will not have a vote on the appeal.
4.2 Cases Involving Duplicate Publication
In cases of author misconduct that involve the appearance of duplicate, or near duplicate, materials in an ESA publication and in a publication of another publisher, the Editor-in-Chief involved will notify the other publisher of the apparent duplicate publication. If the ESA publication is not the original publication of the material, a retraction of the duplicate materials will be published as soon as practicable in the ESA publication series that published the duplicate material. A retraction will be issued in the print and, if applicable, digital version of the publication. A duplicate publication will not be removed from the digital version of an ESA publication series; but, under the direction of the Managing Editor, it will be appropriately flagged or annotated to indicate its duplicate status and that it has been retracted.
4.3 Case Files
The ESA will maintain files of communications, documents, and other materials relative to each case of alleged author misconduct that is formally submitted by an Editor-in-Chief to the Ethics subcommittee for resolution. In cases in which no determination of misconduct is found, the relevant files will be sealed and will not be released unless all individuals involved in the case request that the materials be made public or unless disclosure is required by law.